Monet hit the tiles for a Friday night of films and females to see what it was all about.
Last Friday I headed down the Cube cinema in Bristol for Shextreme – the World’s first extreme sports film festival dedicated entirely to showcasing the work of girls.
The event was sold out over a week before the night and received over 500 film submissions, so I was super excited to get there and meet all of these people who were interested and active in women’s sports media.
On the night I was surprised with a unique problem “Aaah which women-in-sports related event shall I go to tonight?! Decisions! How to choose?!”. Alongside Shextreme, Manon Carpenter and Juliet Elliot were donning their race kit and later their glad rags to launch the new strongher.cc website to inspire more girls to get out on their bikes. I wanted to join them but I figured as an ambassador for the #strongher campaign I should get straight to work shouting about girls in sport!
I took along Bristol based DH racer and turn-bar queen Jess Greaves and we grabbed ourselves a Cider and got ready for some female radness! I couldn’t believe how packed the place was and also how many different types of women there seemed to be there, and men too. The night was opened with some words by a very excited Ruth (read our interview with her here) and the audience were excited and responsive – in fact really the atmosphere was electric, you could really tell how excited everybody was so on the edge of our seats the first session started with a series of shorts featuring Peony Knight, Gwen Moffat and the Rokeo girls Skate crew.
From this first session alone I was amazed by how different and brilliant the overall style of the films were and yes there was talking about feelings, loads of yoga, baking, knitting and all the other great things girls fit into their days.
I love a good ‘sweet edit’ full of crazy antics, europhic music, roots, scrubs, back flips, and general immortality I thought the stark contrast between this and the tone of the films on show was really refreshing, and just as gripping.
I think women (generally) are inspired truly by something with a bit more of a story or a bit more of an insight into the athletes life or context around the subject. For me seeing a girl who can not only ride well but do other things I like doing reinforces my own identity as a girl who likes to throw her self down mountain on bikes, but also likes making clothes, drawing clothes and dreaming about being able to wear couture gowns. Telling people I race bikes has had a surprised reaction nearly my whole life.
“Man up, make more media. Write those blogs, get out your phone and make a video if you have nothing else.”
The second half of the films were prequel-led by a talk including a number of active women’s media individuals – including a guy! The talk that followed was a positive and progressive talk followed by a Q&A about the representation of women in extreme sports media. It was really interesting as surf, skate and snow sports are definitely a few years ahead of mountain biking and seeing how they’ve over come things is inspiring and constructive. One of the points I liked was “Man up, make more media”. Write those blogs, get out your phone and make a video if you have nothing else. If you’re a girl reading this, what are you waiting for? Go and make something! NOW!
‘Image’ was talked about as well as how to get more girls involved and the general consensus ruled that in order to get more women, girls and ladies picking up boards and bikes and skis and scrambling up rocks was for them to see more girls doing it, in a positive way and a way that girl wants to be seen.
Also that companies need to reach out and help develop this audience – progress like this would help deepen the field of talent in competitions and push the level up considerably. Marketing guru Rebecca Hughes said the core values of these girls is already in line with so many company’s marketing strategies that leaving them out is an opportunity wasted and an audience missed.
After the show I caught up with Ruth and Emma Shoesmith to find out their reactions to how the night went and their plans for the future.
“I think Shextreme is a great spring board for all women in actions sports whether its filmmakers and athletes as it increases visibility – its hard to be what you can’t see! This gets more women on screen. We need an easy non cliquey group of people for girls to access to learn about sports and filming and other media alike and we need to get the message right in the start to both boys and girls when they are children that its normal for girls to be skateboarding or riding bikes with the boys.” Emma Shoesmith
The night was great, the films were all top quality, there were good vibes and we met loads of cool people. Ideas were shared and most of all I think everyone left feeling motivated and encouraged that there is an audience, market, demographic – it’s an amazing bunch of girls who are already skating surfing biking and climbing. Whatever you call it we all want to be connected and noticed and we are growing fast.